Just Enough

Hey guys! I’m working really hard on writing for various platforms. Sometimes, this means I can’t get around to posting on my own blog. For those who have recently followed my blog, I hope you enjoy this one from the vaults. I polished up this old post I had written in 2012. Thanks so much for being a reader!

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When I logged in to write this new blog entry, blogger pulled up the stats of my blog. The numbers of page views, comments, impressions. When we see young children exhibit creativity or ingenuity, we quip, “that kid’s going to grow up and change the world.” We are inspired by heroes in our culture and aspire to impact others as we have been impacted.  We derive meaning and purpose from what sort of mark we hope to leave in this lifetime.  We strive to make impressions.  As many and as deeply as we can with the resources we’ve been given.

As Christians we have co-opted this drive to be influential.  We couch the intentions with religious language and say, “we are working unto the Lord” and with evangelistic fervor we urgently “reach” as many as we can.  We may argue our motivations are more pure than the worldly drive for success because we do it in God’s Name and for His Glory, but the underlying ethos is no different.  Let’s build the grandest sanctuaries, lead worship with the best musicians, host the most quality VBS programs, so we can further God’s Kingdom as effectively and efficiently given our resources.

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We value visionary leaders and the go-getters.  We encourage each other to dream big – to live radically for God.  We see the broken world around us and our passions drive us to do more, to help more, to make a difference, to impress God’s love upon our world.

We celebrate biblical teachings like how God can turn a mustard seed of faith into a big tree. We trust that if we just give our five loaves and two fish God can feed thousands.

I learned from a chapter named “Why We Can’t Change the World” from Andy Crouch’s book, Culture Making, where he effectively bursts the bubble of our perceived “world changing” aspirations. He shows example after example of powerful people, corporations, and governments, who fail in their aspirations to affect the world. In conclusion he says,

So can we change the world? Yes and no. On a small enough scale, yes, of course we can. But the world is sufficiently complex, not to mention sufficiently broken, that the small scale of our own cultural capacity is never sufficient. And this remains true no matter how much power we accumulate–true for the CEO of the telephone company just as much as it is true for the lineman… At whatever scale we have the capacity to bring change, we discover, for myriad reasons, that power to bring the change we truly seek lies beyond our grasp.

If even the arguably most powerful man of the world, the president of the United States, struggle to solve even one global crisis, we find ourselves sorely limited indeed in our endeavors for change. Perhaps this is a time to start considering a theology of enough.  A cruciform theology which upends our prevailing cultural values.

Instead of praising the high achievers, we bless those who mourn; the ones who are racked by grief, whose hearts are torn and their faith hanging on by a thread.

Instead of listening to those who make the most noise, we hear the quiet.  The ones who have almost stopped trying to speak because their voices have been drowned out far too long.

Instead of reading celebrity blogs with the most number of impressions, we log off and share meals with the ordinary members of our community.

Instead of acquiring power or amassing more influence by treading on others, we give and celebrate others’ successes. We don’t pit ourselves against our competitors and try to one-up them. Love is not a zero sum game.

Instead of being inspired by the spiritual giants, we stumble along with those who are falling; the ones who are so messed up inside they can’t find their way out of the tangle.

Because isn’t it true sometimes we offer up our bread and our fish and all it feeds is a few people?  Sometimes our faith is just enough to make it through the day, or even half a day, or just the next moment.

I think I’m ready to celebrate impacting the world “just enough”.

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